By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
Informal cross-border traders in Zimbabwe are in for another shocker as government is planning to expand an unpopular imports ban.
Government in June introduced Statutory Instrument 64/2016 that banned some 42 imported items but that provoked anger among informal traders who were buying them from South Africa for resale locally.
The ban sparked violent demonstrations at the Beitbridge border post that connects into South Africa and was temporarily shut as protesters clashed with the police.
Chiratidzo Mabuwa, the Industry and Commerce deputy minister, has revealed that government was considering more items to include on the ban list so as to protect local industries.
“We are still looking for more items so that we have another SI to protect our market. We want to lubricate the local market so that you increase your capacity utilisation and productivity and make money. Then you will lubricate the fiscus,” she said.
Speaking at a recent Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) conference, Mabuwa said banning some imported products would avert dumping of substandard goods in Zimbabwe by foreign companies and defended import bans as a worldwide culture.
“There is no country which does not have controls. There is no free trade. This is why we are controlling products that come into the country. Management of imports is a tool for the resuscitation and growth of local industries,” she said.
South African companies exporting to Zimbabwe reacted angrily to SI 64, and informal business owners in that country joined hands with their Zimbabwean counterparts in protesting against the June ban.
Zimbabwe could witness more angry demonstrations if government proceeds with the expansion of the ban. Nehanda Radio